The great Maggie O’Farrell returns with this masterpiece. Literally one of the best things you’ll read this year, it’s the devastating story of Shakespeare’s family, and in particular his son, Hamnet. Set during the time of … yes, the bubonic plague. Nothing feels more appropriate.
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Hamnet is a novel inspired by the son of the famous playwright, William Shakespeare. It is a story of the bond between twins, and of a marriage pushed to the brink by grief. It is also the story of a flea that boards a ship in Alexandria; a kestrel and its mistress; and a glovemaker’s son who flouts convention in pursuit of the woman he loves. Above all it is a tender and unforgettable reimagining of a boy whose life has been all but forgotten, but who’s name was given to one of the most celebrated plays ever written.
In this remarkable new novel from Maggie O’Farrell, she departs from her usual contemporary, domestic subject matter, to a more historical setting – Stratford-Upon-Avon, 1596. But in telling the devastating story of Shakespeare’s family at the time of the bubonic plague in England, she succeeds, like only Maggie O’Farrell can, in conveying what it means to be a family across time and place.